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Lyft Deactivation: 18 Reasons for Deactivation

Last updated: September 23, 2021
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hand holding a mobile phone with a Lyft deactivation message on the screen

Getting deactivated as a Lyft driver is the worst.

This frustrating, but also common for the industry.

After all, Uber deactivation, DoorDash deactivation, and Instacart deactivation also happen constantly.

It usually happens without warning, and many times you have no idea why it happened.

Worse, Lyft rarely gives you an explanation of why you were deactivated.

One minute you’re able to sign into the app and give rides, and the next minute you see the dreaded “Your account has been deactivated” message.

The best way to deal with Lyft deactivation is to avoid it, and there are many steps you can take.

If your account has been deactivated by Lyft, or you want to take measures to prevent deactivation in the future, this article will walk you through the 18 common reasons why drivers have their accounts disabled and ways to be proactive.

Lyft’s Deactivation Policy

There are many reasons that Lyft can deactivate your account.

Actually, Lyft can deactivate your account for any reason, but they’ll only do so if you do something that violates their terms of service or puts a passenger at risk.

They don’t want to deactivate drivers, as that means fewer people to serve passengers and ultimately a lower bottom line.

Listed below are some of the most common reasons for Lyft deactivation, as well as steps for how to avoid or fix each.

hand holding a mobile phone with a Lyft deactivation message on the screen

1. You Broke a Traffic Law

Breaking the law while driving for Lyft will result in permanent deactivation.

This can include minor traffic violations, like speeding or ignoring a stop sign, as well as violations that are immediately life-threatening to others, like a hit-and-run or threatening your passengers.

When driving for Lyft, you should always obey traffic laws to keep yourself and your passengers safe.

2. You Used Alcohol or Drugs While Driving

Lyft has a zero-tolerance policy with regards to drivers being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving.

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving for Lyft will result in immediate and permanent deactivation.

While this falls under the previous point, it’s worth mentioning on its own since Lyft has an entire page dedicated to it.

Even if you can function fine (or believe that you can), Lyft does not care.

If a passenger reports you as being under the influence, then they will deactivate you permanently.

3. Passengers Used Drugs or Alcohol

This one is a bit complicated, since it is legal for passengers to have open containers or even drink alcohol in a vehicle in some states.

Regardless of state laws, however, it is against Lyft’s policies for passengers to have open containers of alcohol in Lyft rides.

If you’re just transporting a single passenger, it’s unlikely that Lyft will find out about this, but it could be an issue for Shared Lyft rides.

It’s best to err on the side of caution and never let passengers drink alcohol in your vehicle.

And, of course, you should never let passengers use other drugs while in your vehicle.

This comes with the obvious exception of prescription medication that a passenger is taking under a doctor’s supervision.

4. You Have Outdated Documents

One of the most common reasons an account is deactivated is due to outdated documents.

If your vehicle registration or driver’s license isn’t up to date, you can’t drive for Lyft.

In addition to maintaining current vehicle registration, insurance, and a valid driver’s license, you also have to make sure that Lyft has your updated information on file.

If the information they have is out of date, they will deactivate you (even if you’ve kept all your documents up to date).

Luckily, this is an easy problem to fix.

Once you update your documents, your account will reactivate.

5. Your Vehicle Doesn’t Meet Lyft’s Guidelines

This is another common reason for sudden deactivation.

To drive for this service, your vehicle needs to meet the official Lyft car requirements.

Lyft requires your car to be less than a certain age to drive for their platform.

The maximum vehicle age varies based on city, but it’s never more than 15 years.

If Lyft’s records show that your car has become too old to use, they’ll deactivate you.

To fix this issue, your only option is to get a newer vehicle to drive.

Once you’ve done this, you can add the updated vehicle information to your account and request that Lyft reactivate you.

6. You Transported an Unaccompanied Minor

It is against Lyft’s policies to give rides to anyone under the age of 18.

Transporting someone under the age of 18 without an adult present will result in deactivation.

It doesn’t matter if they have the Lyft app and can pay — you can’t transport them legally without the presence of a parent or guardian who is at least 18.

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell someone’s age, and you would never want to mistake someone for being a minor who isn’t.

But if someone requests a ride who is obviously a child, then you cancel the ride and explain to them that you’re not legally allowed to transport them.

If you believe a passenger is below the age of 18, you can ask them to confirm their age.

7. You Violated Lyft’s Anti-Discrimination Policy

Lyft does not tolerate discrimination based on any of the following:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Medical condition
  • Marital status
  • Age (with the obvious exception of transporting unaccompanied minors)
  • Sexual orientation

If a passenger reports you for discriminating against them, Lyft will deactivate you immediately.

This deactivation will likely be permanent.

Of course, if you believe that a passenger was lying about the discrimination, you can contact Lyft and attempt to fight it.

This is a tricky area, however, and Lyft is likely to side with the passenger if there’s any doubt.

It’s helpful to have dash cam footage for situations like these. Check out our list of the best rear view mirror dash cams and protect yourself today.

8. You Refused to Transport a Service Animal

It is against both the law and Lyft’s policies for you to refuse to transport a passenger because they have a service animal.

Now, it can be difficult to verify if an animal is actually a service animal, but the law more or less says that you need to take a passenger at their word if they say so.

Service animals do not have to wear any special tags or harnesses to identify them, and the passenger does not have to have any documentation proving that they have a service animal.

You are required to transport the service animal even if you are allergic, uncomfortable, or have a religious or cultural objection to them.

If you refuse to transport a rider because of their service animal, Lyft can immediately and permanently deactivate you.

There is an important caveat to this rule, however.

Lyft states that you’ll only be deactivated if “an investigation into the alleged denial verifies a wrongful denial.”

In other words, if someone is abusing the service animal policy and lying about their dog being a service animal, you can report this to Lyft and they can reactivate you.

This is another situation where a dash cam is useful.

In general, we recommend you transport all riders who claim to have a service animal, even if it seems fairly obvious they’re lying.

Once you’ve dropped off the passenger, you can call Lyft’s Service Animal Hotline at 1-877-452-4866 to report the passenger if you think they’re abusing the service animal policy.

Suggested: Learn more about Lyft’s pet policy.

9. You Made Sexual Comments or Advances Towards Passenger

Lyft is committed to providing safe rides for all passengers.

If you make sexual comments or advances towards a passenger, your account will be deactivated.

This includes reaching out to the passenger after you’ve concluded the ride.

10. You Texted While Driving

Texting while driving is against the law in most states and is against Lyft’s safety guidelines.

If a passenger reports you for doing this, Lyft will deactivate you for such unsafe driving behavior and likely won’t reactivate your account.

11. Giving Rides to People on the Street

Don’t pick up people who flag you down like a taxi.

This is very unsafe, and it’s also against Lyft’s policies.

If someone wants a ride, they can download the Lyft app and request one.

Lyft’s safety team takes this seriously and will deactivate you for doing it.

12. Someone Else Drove Under Your Account

Allowing someone else to drive with your Lyft account or impersonate you goes against Lyft’s safety guidelines.

Lyft conducts a background check and identity verification during the application process to identify drivers.

The strict Lyft driver requirements exist for a reason, so adhere to these and don’t break them.

13. Your Rating Is Too Low

Lyft driver ratings impact your ability to drive for Lyft.

Lyft does not have an official statement on this matter, but it’s fairly clear based on driver experience that a low driver rating will get you deactivated.

How low is too low depends on your city.

After all, your absolute driver rating matters less than your rating relative to other drivers.

If the average rating in your city is a 4.5, and you’re at 4, you’re probably going to get deactivated.

The best way to deal with this issue is to avoid low ratings.

Some low ratings are inevitable, but you can keep your star rating high by always providing top customer service and being friendly to riders.

14. Too Many Passengers Made Complaints

This is a broad category that relates to a low driver rating.

If passengers are complaining about the service you’re providing, about your vehicle being dirty, or about you doing anything illegal or unsafe, then Lyft is likely to deactivate you.

The easiest solution is to give passengers no reason to complain, as long as doing so doesn’t violate any other Lyft policies or laws.

15. Your Criminal History or Driving Record has Changed

Even if you initially pass your background check during Lyft’s application process, it’s important to maintain a clean criminal and driving record.

If your criminal history changes in a way that violates Lyft’s background check policy, your account will be deactivated.

If Lyft learns that you’ve broken the law in a way that violates their background check policy, they can deactivate you at their discretion.

16. You Have a Weapon in the Vehicle

Keeping a weapon in your vehicle violates Lyft’s safety guidelines, regardless if it is legal to do so in your state.

Lyft defines a weapon as “any form of firearm,” but also as “stun guns, explosives, knives, slingshots and tasers.”

Ultimately, Lyft reserves the right to determine what does and doesn’t qualify as a weapon.

If you’re in doubt, don’t bring it.

17. You Falsified Information

Falsifying documents or information for your Lyft application will result in your permanent deactivation from Lyft.

Because this is a serious crime, Lyft may also choose to report you to law enforcement.

18. You Were Smoking While Transporting Passengers

Even though it is legal for you to do so, Lyft asks that you not smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products while transporting passengers.

While they don’t explicitly say so, this likely includes vaping as well.

Even when you’re not transporting passengers, don’t smoke in the vehicle you drive with Lyft.

It leads to a poor passenger experience, and even having a car that smells like smoke can result in deactivation: “If a passenger reports that a driver’s car smells like smoke, their [the driver’s] account may be disabled.”

19. Your Vehicle is Unclean or Damaged

Lyft requires all drivers to have clean and properly maintained vehicles.

Having a dirty vehicle leads to an unpleasant passenger experience, and having a damaged one can endanger passenger safety.

Always attend to any problems with your car before they become serious, as passenger reports of such issues can lead to deactivation.

20. Bringing a Friend or Family Member With You

You are not allowed to have other people in your car who aren’t Lyft passengers.

Even if doing so makes you feel safer, it is against Lyft’s policy to have a friend or family member ride with you while you’re giving Lyft rides.

This is for two reasons.

First, it is a safety issue, as Lyft has no way of vetting the other person or holding them accountable for what they do.

Second, having someone else in your vehicle takes up capacity that you’re supposed to use for passengers.

This can lead to inconvenience even for groups of three people, who would rather not all cram into the back your car.

Mystery Deactivations

Lyft drivers across the country have been experiencing mind-boggling mystery deactivations.

This phenomenon seems to be linked to drivers who haven’t been active since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

In some instances, drivers have experienced a mystery deactivation after Lyft updated its safety guidelines to include new requirements related to COVID-19.

For many drivers experiencing sudden deactivation, Lyft has not provided explanations, and appealing the decision has been difficult.

Uber drivers have been experiencing the same problem.

What Happens When Lyft Deactivates Your Account?

Being deactivated by Lyft can be a scary and frustrating experience.

Oftentimes, Lyft does not provide much of an explanation for why you’ve been deactivated or what the process looks like.

How Do You Know if You’ve Been Deactivated by Lyft?

The easiest way to check if your account has been deactivated by Lyft is to sign in to the app.

If you can sign in and begin giving rides, your account is still active.

However, if you sign in and a message pops up that reads: “Your account has been deactivated”, then you won’t be able to continue.

screenshot of lyft deactivation error message

The Deactivation Process

Lyft’s deactivation process differs case by case.

Your account will be deactivated while Lyft investigates the problem at hand, such as a complaint from a passenger of sexual harassment, discrimination, and so on.

After the investigation concludes, Lyft will make a final decision on whether your account will be reactivated or permanently disabled.

How Long Will You Be Deactivated For?

Depending on the reason for deactivation, your account can be disabled from anywhere between a few hours and a few days.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know how long a deactivation can last.

For straightforward issues, like outdated documents, your account should reactivate quickly after the problem is resolved.

For serious incidents, you should anticipate a long wait.

Is Lyft Deactivation Permanent?

In some cases, Lyft deactivation is permanent.

You will typically be notified if your account is permanently deactivated.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Deactivated by Lyft?

If you’ve been deactivated by Lyft, you can follow these steps to reactivate your account.

1. Find Out Why You’ve Been Deactivated

Reach out to Lyft support to understand why you’ve been deactivated.

You might have to wait until Lyft concludes an investigation into a claim to learn what has happened.

2. Gather Information for an Appeal

If you find Lyft’s decision to deactivate your account unjust, you can gather evidence to present in an appeal.

Relevant information might include a record of your driver rating, incident reports, and so on to back up your claim.

Appealing a Lyft Deactivation

If you feel you’ve been unjustly deactivated by Lyft, you can appeal to the company directly.

How Long Do I Have To Wait to Reapply for Lyft?

Depending on the nature of your deactivation, you might not be able to reapply to Lyft without resolving or appealing your initial deactivation.

In some cases, drivers have waited for 3 to 6 months to reapply.

The Appeals Process

After you’ve received a final verdict on your deactivation, you can begin your appeals process right away.

The process might take a while, depending on how quickly Lyft looks into your appeal.

Although there is not a lot of information on Lyft’s appeal process online, you should immediately contact Lyft support to learn what you need to do.

How to Reactivate my Lyft Account

There are two ways to go about reactivating your account.

1. By Contacting Support

When you contact Lyft support, you can explain why you believe the deactivation isn’t fair.

This is where evidence like dash camera footage, your record of driver ratings, and your incident reports are important.

If you’ve given a ton of rides and have maintained a 4.9-star rating (as an example), then be sure to communicate that.

2. By Visiting a Lyft Hub

Lyft Hubs are located in different regions of the United States and Canada.

You can look up your regional Hub here and speak to a Lyft representative.

Tips for a Successful Reactivation

Be prepared to provide documentation, such as your driver rating record, relevant incident reports, and other information pertinent to the issue.

How to Avoid a Lyft Deactivation

It pays to be proactive.

To avoid having your account disabled, you can follow these steps.

1. Follow the Rules

Sure, it seems obvious, and for good reason.

Following the rules can sometimes be underrated, but when it comes to keeping your account active so you can continue driving, it’s the best thing you can do.

2. Report Incidents When They Occur

You’ll probably know what qualifies as an “incident” when one happens.

This could be something like an argumentative passenger, someone who refuses a ride, or another issue that leaves you with an uneasy feeling or bad rating.

The best thing to do in these situations is to report what happened to Lyft immediately.

That way, if a rider makes a complaint, Lyft will already have your side of the story.

3. Get a Dash Cam and Use It

Dashcams have become popular for their usefulness when incidents occur.

They record what’s happening in and around your vehicle so that, in case of a problem, you have an unbiased account of what occurred.

Be sure to look up what your state or city law is for having a dashcam installed in your car since their legality varies.

4. Keep Records of Driver Ratings

Once your account is deactivated, you might not be able to recover your driver record to prove you regularly get a certain rating.

Be proactive and take weekly screenshots of your driver ratings.

You can create a folder for these screenshots in your phone’s albums to save them directly.

That way, you don’t have to search around for them if and when they’re needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

mobile phone showing a Lyft power zone on the screen

Can I sue Lyft for deactivating my account?

Technically, yes.

It’s possible to find a law firm that will take on this sort of case.

However, suing Lyft will likely be a waste of your time and money.

When you drive for Lyft, you enter into an independent contractor agreement with the company, which means you don’t have the same legal options as a full-fledged employee.

If you believe you’ve been discriminated against, you should consult with a lawyer about your options.

Can I have 2 Lyft accounts as a driver?

More than one Lyft driver can drive the same car as long as both names are on the insurance.

However, one person cannot have multiple Lyft driver accounts, since this opens up the possibility for fraud or a safety issue.

Does Lyft deactivate riders?

Yes. Lyft will deactivate rider accounts if a rider has engaged in dangerous behavior while in the vehicle.

Why does Lyft put your account on hold?

If you’re a driver, Lyft may put your account on hold if they need to investigate a claim made against you, such as violating their safety policy through unsafe driving, breaking a law, or otherwise.

Is it illegal if Lyft deactivated all drivers who live in political districts that support AB5?

Because AB5 is still relatively new, it’s uncertain how drivers deactivated in these political districts will be affected.

If you have been deactivated and live in one of these political districts, you might want to discuss your options for legal action with a lawyer.

Why can a passenger make a false claim and Lyft deactivates your account?

Unfortunately, Lyft’s system isn’t perfect.

Passengers can scam drivers by making false claims just to get a free ride.

If this has happened to you and your account ends up being deactivated, you should reach out to Lyft support.

Reactivation Is Possible

Receiving a deactivation email from Lyft can leave your stomach churning, but there are steps you can take to get your account reactivated.

We hope this guide has helped you understand Lyft deactivation.

Ultimately, the best way to deal with deactivation is to avoid it.

As long as you’re a good driver, treat passengers with respect, and don’t violate any of Lyft’s policies, you’ll be able to avoid deactivation.

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